I try to stay away from controversy. Anyone who knows me knows I have my
correct opinions and like to argue, but here in Wing’s World, I try to keep it sweetness & light.
But it’s summer. Tourists are flocking to my island. And since the chunk of federally-owned land adjacent to my house has been declared part of a National Monument, they seem to be flocking in, well…rather larger flocks.
With their dogs. Who may or may not be leashed.
See, here’s the thing. I hate leashing my dog, Juni. Off-season, when no one’s around, I used to set her free to romp with her buddies along the wind-swept shore.
Then I became a volunteer BLM Monitor. That’s Bureau of Land Management, a sub-agency of the Department of the Interior. As a Monitor, I get to do what I do every day anyway, only carrying a clipboard and noting things like birds, plants in bloom, numbers of people, and dogs on or off leash. Including me, and mine. And, oh yeah, if I see someone with an off-leash dog, I’m supposed to ask them to leash up.
Out of sheer embarrassment at the hypocrisy of the situation, I began leashing Juni, even when there was no one around. It did feel better not to have her crushing all the pretty flowers in the spring.
Later, at a BLM monitors picnic, I learned about the sparrows who nested near the trails, and got reminded about some of the endangered plants that could easily get trampled.
So okay. I want to be a good role model. I got religion on leashing my dog…in this space, at least. But I’m still torn. Dogs have SO MUCH FUN off-leash! And when I meet friends with free-romping pooches who just shake me off when I give ’em my BLM spiel, I have a hard time feeling too upset with them.
So…here goes the controversy. Does LEASH YOUR DOG really mean what it says, or does it mean “We really wish you would keep your dog under control, and if you can do this without a leash, that’s cool”? What’s been your dog off-leash experience? Any horror stories you need to tell?
I got my clipboard handy. Fire away.